Q&A

Where in Texas do 'ban the box' laws apply?

02/10/2015
Q. I have been hearing a lot about “ban the box” laws lately—measures that limit when inquiry or investigation may be made into the criminal history of a job applicant. I am worried about how these laws could affect my business. To what extent has Texas adopted such policies, and could they endanger my company?

Can we require owner-employees of a business we're buying to sign noncompete agreements?

02/10/2015
Q. My company is in the process of purchasing a small printing business, and we plan to retain several of the owner-employees of the acquired business. As a part of the purchase-and-sale agreement, we would like to take steps to protect our customer base by restricting the competitive activities of the owner-employees for five years. Additionally, we are interested in restricting the activities of an employee who is not a party to the transaction, but is married to one of the owners of the business. May we do so? What are some basics about noncompete agreements?

Can we collect insurance premiums from employee who was out on FMLA leave?

02/02/2015
Q. One of our employees recently returned from FMLA leave. Before he left, the method in which he would pay his share of health insurance premiums was never decided. It’s been two months now and the employee hasn’t mentioned it or attempted to pay us back. What can we do to collect the premium?

Can we discipline an 'early clocker?'

02/02/2015
Q. One of our part-time employees has been warned repeatedly about clocking in earlier than she’s supposed to, sometimes more than an hour early. We know that we have to pay her for any hours worked, but what can we legally do to get her to work only the hours set for her position? Also, can we reprimand a co-worker that has been clocking in for her?

What kind of access must I allow employees who want to see their personnel records?

01/26/2015
Q. One of my employees recently asked me, in person, if she could view her personnel records. What does California law require?

What notice must I give California employees upon termination?

01/26/2015
Q. As a California employer, what forms and notices am I required to provide to employees I discharge? Also, are the forms and notices due immediately upon termination?

Must we pay for time spend in security line?

01/21/2015
Q. To prevent theft, we require our employees to pass through security screenings after they finish their shifts. Because we have a large number of employees, it can take up to 25 minutes for employees to get through the screening line. Do we have to pay our employees for the time they spend in line and going through the security screenings?

Can we replace employee who has been on FMLA leave for 14 weeks and isn't due back soon?

01/21/2015
Q. An employee went out on leave for a medical condition after working for us for 10 months. While the employee was not FMLA-eligible when the leave commenced, he was inadvertently advised that his leave was covered by the FMLA. The employee has now been on leave for 14 weeks, and he is not expected to immediately return to work. We would now like to fill his position. Is this permissible?

Does our lactation room need a lock?

01/21/2015
Q. An employee will be returning from maternity leave next month. She has indicated she intends to express milk during her breaks. We have a room that is rarely used that seems perfect but it does not have a lock. Will this suffice?

Should employees get copies of reviews?

01/12/2015
Q. We usually don’t allow our employees to read or comment on their annual evaluations. Instead, we perform a performance review one-on-one and have them sign an acknowledgment that they have discussed their performance. Do we need to provide them with a copy of the evaluation?

What are some resources for classifying employees and independent contractors?

01/05/2015
Q. I am assistant HR director for a small company that uses independent contractors as well as full- and part-time employees. In my role, I must ensure that these workers are accurately classified as either employees or contractors, and that my company fully complies with federal and state tax and labor laws. What is out there to assist me in accurately classifying the workers performing services for our firm?

What's the federal youth minimum wage?

12/24/2014
Q. I am an employer that employs minors in certain occupations. Is there a federal youth minimum wage that I must pay my minor employees?

What restrictions limit child labor?

12/24/2014
Q. One of my employees asked if her 15-year-old son could work for my business. Under Texas law, in which occupations may teenagers be employed?

Can a friend or relative pick up a paycheck?

12/24/2014
Q. Some of the employees in my company’s Texas office have inquired about alternative payment delivery options. Among other things, they have asked if they may have a friend or relative come to the office to pick up their paychecks. Is this permissible?
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